Shaka Zulu (1986)

TV Mini-Series  |   |  Action, Biography, Drama
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A historical account on the life of the Zulu king Shaka.

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Title: Shaka Zulu (1986– )

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Series cast summary:
 Lt. Francis Farewell (10 episodes, 1986-1989)
 Dr. Henry Fynn (10 episodes, 1986-1989)
 Lord Charles Somerset (10 episodes, 1986-1989)
Fiona Fullerton ...
 Elizabeth Farewell (10 episodes, 1986-1989)
 Lord Bathurst (10 episodes, 1986-1989)
Henry Cele ...
 Shaka (10 episodes, 1986-1989)
Dudu Mkhize ...
 Nandi (10 episodes, 1986-1989)
 George IV (10 episodes, 1986-1989)
 Prof. Bramston (10 episodes, 1986-1989)
Kenneth Griffith ...
 Zacharias Abrahams (10 episodes, 1986-1989)


Framed around Queen Victoria's decision on England's political stance towards the Zulu Nation, this mini-series details King Shaka's rise and fall with mythic detail. Prophecy is mixed with recorded fact regarding Shaka's birth, exile, innovations in warfare, assumption of the throne, building of the Zulu Empire, first contact with Europe and the events that lead to his downfall. Written by Renee Ann Byrd <>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


The Most Savage Warrior of All Time!


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Parents Guide:





Release Date:

24 November 1986 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Šaka Zulu  »

Filming Locations:

Box Office


$24,000,000 (estimated)

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


| (original)

Sound Mix:


Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


Based on 'Joshua Sinclair (I)''s own novel "Shaka Zulu", itself based on the oral tradition of the Zulu people. See more »


Shaka: A man chosen to wield life and death on the battlefield must be an artist, if he isn't, he is simply a murderer.
See more »


Referenced in Saturday Night Live: Kirsten Dunst/Eminem (2002) See more »


(uncredited) (music box)
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User Reviews

A great . . . and awful man
29 March 2002 | by (New York) – See all my reviews

The Story is told based in the writings of Edward Fox's character, an adventurer named Francis George Farewell. Therefore, the more savage side of his nature is undubitably exaggerated.

To the best of our knowledge the salient points are correct, even to Henry Cele sharing the same basic build as Shaka, both of them quite imposing. There is some European romanticism tossed in, but it should be must viewing for anyone who loves history. Pooh-poohed by some critics as preposterous (as was Ghost in the Darkness, also an essentially true story), it is no more amazing than Napoleon's rise from obscurity to absolute power. They parallel in so many ways, in fact, that Shaka is oft called the "Napoleon of Africa". Though many Zulus consider Napoleon the "Shaka of Europe"

The production was fraught with controversy (it was filmed in South Africa before sanctions were lifted) but tries to convey a complex and fascinating story set in a tribal Africa steeped in mysticism with ideas about life and death that were very different from Europe. It manages to convey those ideas, and Shaka's formidible intellect, quite well. On top of that, it has as its star the perfect actor for the part.

Highly recommended and worth the time it takes to view it.

16 of 21 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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